The guilt of being the other woman

If you’re anything like me you believe that in a relationship, it is likely you will have acquired someone’s trust and hold the view that you should always work to respect it. Therefore, you probably consider that someone’s decision to cheat when in a committed relationship is a breach of this and is never okay.

It’s probably incredibly difficult for all parties involved. The person who has been cheated on is likely to be the most affected; often hurt and upset. The “other woman/man” in the scenario, however, can face a number of challenges depending on the situation; ranging from distrust and guilt all the way to satisfaction.

Personally, when I discovered that the guy who had asked me out and kept flirting with me was already in a relationship and most shockingly had children, I was instantly hit by waves of guilt.

I didn’t fancy him. But I knew I wasn’t telling him to stop. More so because I was frightened of making the situation more awkward. This made me feel like I was the one in the wrong.

I wasn’t breaking anyone’s trust. But I was the reason someone else was.

All because I was too afraid to say the word “stop.”

It was made more hard by the fact that I was spending five days a week, 9am-5pm, with the guy in question. But it didn’t end there because he had my phone number and I’d end up getting messages from him at all hours.

One time, he suddenly left while we were mid-conversation after he spotted his partner coming towards us. I overheard her ask who I was and him reply “I don’t know” as though I was some stranger on the street as opposed to the girl he had literally seconds earlier been discussing where he’d take me to on a date.

It made me angry. For a brief moment I thought I had been jealous; that maybe why I was so mad was because there was a part of me that wanted to be with him and that made me feel all the more guilty. Which spiraled into feeling a hell of a lot angrier.

He apologised that evening. Telling me I’d make any man or woman happy.

Though in his next breath asked for me to send a video of me with another woman as his Christmas present.

It was the final straw.

So I chose distance. I moved desks. I didn’t bother replying to his messages anymore. And yes it wasn’t easy as we were, and still are, part of the same friendship group. And yes he continues to make comment and flirt and just in general be a outright dickhead but I’ve came to realise that I am not doing anything to encourage him. It’s all on him.

I still feel guilty. I don’t know whether I’ll ever not. Especially since I couldn’t even contact his partner to say what he was doing and would probably feel too anxious to do so anyway.

So to his actual woman: I am sorry. I am sorry for not having the courage and confidence to outright tell him to stop. I am sorry that the father of your children does not possess the ability to respect your trust. I hope whoever you are and wherever you are you are happy and that one day he treats you the way you wish for him to treat you. For the benefit of you and your children, I hope I am the only one he has ever done this with and the only person he ever will do it with.

To him: Stop being a dick.

Written by Jenn

still irish. still a psychology grad and nctj accredited journalist. still hopeful that caroline flack will marry me. ew i'm 23 now.

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